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UNHCR, WFP agreement creates combined efficiencies to benefit refugees

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UNHCR, WFP agreement creates combined efficiencies to benefit refugees

15 May 2017
Switzerland. Meeting of UNHCR and WFP
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi meets with WFP Executive Director David Beasley

GENEVA - The heads of the UN World Food Programme and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, signed an agreement in Geneva on Monday (May 15), committing the two agencies to collaborate to provide cash-based assistance for refugees. Cash is one way to effectively assist refugees with the participation of recipient communities, host governments, donors and humanitarian agencies.

“Cash fosters dignity and autonomy, allowing refugees to determine how best to meet their needs and to contribute directly to local economies,” said UN Refugees Chief, Filippo Grandi.

Some 80 per cent of the world’s displaced people live in cities, often with limited or no access to legal employment. Cash aid is now a critical tool to access sectors like health, food, shelter and meeting other basic needs.  

"We must use many different methods to help people who have lost their homes and homeland to rebuild their lives”, said WFP Executive Director David Beasley. “Cash is one smart and effective way of doing this”.   

UNHCR is working with governments, humanitarian organizations and the private sector to streamline aid with tangible benefits for refugees and for our donors. 

Building on the strong longstanding partnership between the agencies, the agreement aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of cash-based aid through a predictable arrangement with the participation of all relevant stakeholders. The new agreement allows UNHCR and WFP to collaborate effectively on cash programmes in humanitarian operations, improving assistance to refugees while bringing benefits to the local economy.    

In 2016, UNHCR and WFP were able to assist millions of refugees and other vulnerable people with the cash-based aid programme – signaling an important shift in how the world’s humanitarian response is increasingly being managed.